Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson
- Seattle is 8-6, but according to Pythagorean expectation the Seahawks are underperforming this season.
- Using Bet Labs, we analyze how these underperforming teams have performed against the spread.
Pythagorean expectation is a formula devised to estimate the percentage of games a team “should” have won based on the numbers of points they scored and allowed.
By comparing a team’s actual win percentage to its Pythagorean win percentage, we can determine which teams are overperforming and underperforming during a season.
The Seattle Seahawks are 8-6 and have outscored their opponents by 71 points, which is the same point differential as the 10-4 Houston Texans. According to Pythagorean expectation, Russell Wilson and Co. should have approximately nine wins at this point in the season.
The Seahawks are underperforming and late in the year it has been profitable to bet on such teams.
Since 2003, teams with a positive Pythagorean expectation playing in December or later have gone 544-496-32 (52.3%) against the spread (ATS). per Bet Labs.
Teams with winning records and a positive Pythagorean expectation have been the best bets:
Seattle is a 2.5-point underdog at home to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). After losing to the San Francisco 49ers, who are in the hunt for the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft, a majority of spread tickets (see live odds) are on the Chiefs as road favorites.
History suggests the underperforming Seahawks are undervalued by the betting market.
The Seahawks aren’t the only team to match this system in Week 16. Two other teams have winning records and are underperforming according to Pythagorean expectations.
Week 16 Matches
- Baltimore Ravens (+4.5) at Los Angeles Chargers (8:20 p.m. ET, NFL)
- Indianapolis Colts (-10) vs. New York Giants (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
- Seattle Seahawks (+2.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)